tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 28, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
day of rage. burning fury in the streets of egypt. brutal battles with police. the u.s. says the regime must respond. all eyes now on egyptian president mubarak tonight. the world is watching this tense, violent and fluid situation. the question is, how does it end? "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. something enormously important is happening half a world away
from us tonight. the nation of egypt is probably changing forever, and it may not stop there. what appears to be a revolution is under way, led by protesters in the streets against the almost 30-year rule of president hosni mubarak. late tonight local time he went on television, gave a speech talking about freedom and democracy. he said he's going to replace his entire government tomorrow. we learn tonight he spoke with president obama for 30 minutes. egypt has shut down the internet, which helped fuel this in the first place, in a nation where over half the population is age 30 and under. importantly this is not a middle east protest against the u.s. or britain or israel, this is egyptians protesting their own government. here's where we're talking about, three major protests talking about in three big cities, suez, alexandria and cairo. cairo is where our chief foreign
correspondent, richard engle, is standing by tonight. richard, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the egyptian army has taken up positions in much of downtown cairo. and as you mentioned, president mubarak has broken his silence, promising some reforms, but will it be enough to stop the protests. egypt is now in a state of revolt. waves of thousands of protesters rushed riot police, who drove them back with water cannons and, more often, tear gas. although the protesters have no single leader, the demonstrations were coordinated to begin at mosques. the clashes started almost immediately after friday prayers. the protesters now calling themselves revolutionaries, launched bottles, stones and molotov cocktails. they tore up the streets to throw blocks of pavement at riot police. several hours into these protests, there is now nothing less than chaos in the center of
cairo. this city has not seen anything like this in decades, if ever. downtown cairo, smoldered with anger and the debris of torched police vehicles. the crowds are continuing to grow with every hour here. they are now chanting one simple slogan "god is greater" and they hope to continue this protest until they topple hosni mubarak. tonight president mubarak went on national television and defended the crackdown, but also offered concessions, firing his cabinet and promising more reform. we will have new steps toward more democracy, he said. more freedom for citizens. new steps to reduce unemployment, to elevate the standard of living and improve services. it's unclear how many demonstrators and police have been injured or killed so far. we saw many succumb to tear gas. the protesters have now reached
the main square here in downtown cairo. people are being injured. we've seen several collapsing so far today, like this man. as the day progressed, the protests began to change. a movement that started with students, human rights activists and the unemployed, turned increasingly violent. shouts against president mubarak merged with cries of god is greater. they have now stopped for a moment of prayer and also an act of defiance, challenging the police to stop them. the muslim brotherhood, a group long banned here, joined the protest. egypt has said it's cracking down to maintain order and to prevent the country from falling to islamic radicals. as evening fell, police vehicles were attacked on bridges and set on fire. mubarak imposed a curfew, and
for the first time called in the army. but when army armored vehicles rolled into cairo, they seemed to take no action against the demonstrators. in fact, crowds surrounded the military vehicles, climbed on top of them, cheered the soldiers, and called on them to join the movement. president mubarak has reshuffled his cabinet several times in the past. protesters we spoke to tonight say this time, it's not enough. >> so, richard, what kind of protest is this? we call it a citizens uprising correctly, there's no black masks here. some people actually brought their families and children to this. but at the same time, as you chronicled there, the religious aspect. so what does that mean end game would be in terms of what they do and how their side would govern? >> reporter: it's very difficult to know because the protest has been changing. it began with students, workers, people who were unemployed, and
then today we saw islamic groups getting more and more involved. they are by far the most organized people in this country, and there is a fear on the streets of cairo that this movement could be hijacked by islamic parties. so far, we haven't seen that happening, and it has just been average egyptians who have been going out and saying they're tired of corruption, they are tired of living with a poor quality of life, but if this continues, and it does topple the regime, there is a very likely possibility that these islamic groups that have been banned in this country for a long time will make a run for power. >> all right, richard, we're going to come back to you in cairo. we want to go first, however, to the white house. this puts the u.s. in a tough spot in a way. they have been scurrying behind the scenes today. while the president spent the day staying off television, keeping a low profile, that changed tonight. our chief white house correspondent, chuck todd, at the white house with more on what the president's response is
tonight. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, the president just spoke not only to president mubarak but he actually just spoke to the press pool to give them an update on the things that he said in reinforce to president mubarak in their 30-minute conversation. take a listen. >> as the situation continues to unfold, our first concern is preventing injury or loss of life. so i want to be very clear in calling upon the egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters. the people of egypt have rights that are universal. that includes the right to peaceful assembly and association. the right to free speech and the ability to determine their own destiny. >> reporter: now, brian, as you know, other than being able to get mubarak on the phone just now, the white house today was very much just like us.
they were watching the television. they had al jazeera on, they had egyptian television on. they would have some secure video links with our ambassador in cairo trying to monitor the situation, trying to get their arms around it. it really wasn't until late this evening after president mubarak spoke that president obama placed the phone call. and later what president obama said he did is, look, you made these pledges about democracy and about these reforms and now you've got to live up to it. the implication, of course, is that the foreign aid that we provide as the united states government might be on the line. >> all right, chuck todd at the white house. chuck, thanks. we now want to talk about what's happening across a whole region. tunisia, algeria, yemen, egypt and especially this situation in egypt puts the u.s. in a delicate position. that foreign aid chuck just mentioned, they get $1.3 billion, give or take, from the u.s. every year. our own andrea mitchell with us from our washington newsroom tonight with more on how this day and how this crisis all
played out. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: actually, brian, we've just checked. it's actually more than that. it's $1.5 billion. so this uprising against egypt's president creates a crisis for president obama. for decades under democratic and republican administrations, mubarak has been america's closest ally in the middle east. even before the president spoke as hosni mubarak began losing control of the streets, the u.s. had started toughening its response. >> these protests underscore that there are deep grievances within egyptian society. and the egyptian government needs to understand that violence will not make these grievances go away. >> reporter: the president had an extended intelligence briefing today. pointedly, he did not try to call mubarak. for decades, egypt has received billions in u.s. military and civilian aid. more than any country other than israel. currently u.s. aid to egypt is
$1.5 billion a year. today the white house warned it could cut aid if the crackdown escalates. >> we will be reviewing our assistance posture based on event that take place in the coming days. >> reporter: in 2009, the president chose cairo to call for more democracy in the arab world. >> suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. >> reporter: but there has been little follow-up say critics. egypt has long been america's most reliable partner in the middle east, and mubarak a key ally against al qaeda. >> he woman a bull wark in a secular government in an area being dominate by more religious extremists. >> reporter: despite widespread fraud by mubarak's party in the elections last november, criticism from the u.s. was muted. as late as yesterday, vice president biden called mubarak an important ally.
>> and i think that it would be -- i would not refer to him as a dictator. >> reporter: now after the government fell in tunisia and a hezbollah government took over lebanon, are other pro u.s. leaders at risk. >> i think this thing has gone viral and we're not seeing the end of it in egypt. we're going to see it in yemen and all over the arab world now. >> reporter: now that the president has in fact spoken to mubarak, u.s. officials still say the question is does mubarak genuinely understand the meaning of the none stragss and initiate real reforms or is he just trying to manage the crisis. from his speech tonight, u.s. officials are not encouraged, brian. >> on that aspect of this story, thanks. let's go back to richard engle in cairo. richard, for folks that don't know, you lived and worked in cairo for, what was it, four years when you were starting out as a reporter. you know the city and the country well. you take police and the army in the united states, they're both respected members of society. but there is a vast difference
between those two in egypt. explain how that fits into what we're seeing out of there today. >> reporter: all of the anger today, brian, was directed at the police. in particular the riot police. they are the people -- they are the authorities that egyptians come into contact with on a daily basis and often not in a pleasant way. corruption is a daily problem. petty bribes are something that has long infuriated egyptians. the army, on the other hand, stays out of the city and people have a great respect for the army. they have very little interaction with the army. so to see tonight the army come into the city sends a very clear message that the times have changed and the egyptian people don't want to confront the army. they want to create a divide between the police and the army. so all day we saw people here burning police vehicles and cheering soldiers. >> and they're letting civilian vehicles through on the streets, hitting the police cars as they go by, and they allowed the army to come in tonight, i understand, and surround the
central museum, which is the largest collection of antiquities in that region, just to make sure the treasures of egypt wouldn't get upset in all of this. >> reporter: there was first a human chain around the egyptian museum. people don't want there to be any looting. there had been some rumors that looting had begun of the precious antiquities. then the army came in, surrounded the main entrances of the museum and people welcomed that. >> lall right, richard engle in cairo. we'll come back to you before the end of the broadcast. richard, thank you for your reporting. we mentioned social media, the role it has played in this crisis. first to twitter, and you can look over my shoulder. this is a live feed of all twitter feeds that have to do with egypt. this is actually a bit slower than realtime and gives you an idea of the volume on the subject of the uprising in egypt. all of them scrolling by from different users, different individuals. and yet, one of the british
newspapers today put together a graph of internet service in egypt over the past few days and watch it just fall off a cliff, when in effect presumably through the internet carriers, the nation of egypt stopped internet service. but people are resourceful and they find a way to communicate with the outside world. we'll take a break in our coverage here. when we come back, some of the day's other news. the shootout inside a police precinct in this country. tonight the video of it has been released. what does it show? and later, it was 25 years ago today the tragedy that stopped this nation cold, along with this nation's space program. i'm friend, secret-keeper and playmate. do you think i'd let osteoporosis slow me down? so i asked my doctor about reclast because i heard it's the only once-a-year iv osteoporosis treatment. he told me all about it and i said that's the one for nana. he said reclast can help restrengthen my bones to help make them resistant to fracture for twelve months.
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find this video disturbing. our report tonight from nbc's kevin tibbles. >> reporter: this surveillance video shows police officers diving for cover after a gunman walked into detroit's 6th precinct and opened fire. the shooter, 38-year-old lamar moore, came into the station on sunday carrying a shotgun with a pistol grip leveled at the officers inside. four were wounded, four more were shot dead. >> there are some tremendous acts of heroism within this video. to see officers perform in a spectacular way. >> reporter: today detroit police made that video public to demonstrate how its officers acted under fire. the shots began in the entranceway but moore then lunged. >> then he hurls himself over the desk. you see him come over the desk here. >> reporter: with several
officers down, moore comes face to face with commander brian davis. >> he engages this gentleman at almost point-blank range. >> reporter: both guns go off, the commander is hit in the hand. >> he's also shot in the back at this point. >> reporter: the gunman rounds the desk, but does not fire again. moments later, he is killed by a police round. police were looking for moore in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl who managed to get away from him earlier in the day. police were called to and raided this home sunday afternoon just a short time later at 4:00 p.m., moore stormed the precinct. >> we are very thankful to god all four members who were injured are going to be okay. >> reporter: two of the injured officers remain in the hospital. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. now to our economy and how it relates to our lead story tonight. on wall street today concern over the situation in egypt triggered the biggest sell-off in weeks. the dow was down 166 points. but here you go, look what
happened just today to the price of oil. up $3.70. that's all about concern over egypt. it closed today above $89 a barrel. up next, the day the earth stood still because our attempt to slip the surly bonds of earth had failed. would you believe it's been 25 years since the "challenger." move us all to a better place. and caltrate moves us. caltrate knows 80% of us don't get the calcium we need. and when we don't, our bodies steal it from our bones. caltrate helps put it back. with 1200 mg of calcium and 800 iu of vitamin d. women need caltrate. caltrate helps women keep moving because women move the world. ♪ work, work all week long ♪ punching that clock from dusk till dawn ♪ ♪ countin' the days till friday night ♪ ♪ that's when all the conditions are right for a good time ♪
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today? if you're old enough to remember, then you remember the event and you likely know exactly where you were when you learned the shuttle "challenger" had blown up, exploded on takeoff, killing seven astronauts, including christa mcauliffe, the first teacher in space. today has been a day to reflect on the tragedy and nasa's changing mission. our report from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: 25 years later, those images of "challenger's" smiling eager crew also bring gut-wrenching foreboding. we know of the safety shortcuts and those five words that stay with us forever.
>> challenger, go with throttle up. >> i was a 17-year-old student. at that time thinking what did i just see? we weren't sure what we just saw. >> reporter: mikayla, now a teacher, was watching the launch at concord high school in new hampshire. the school where christa mcauliffe was teaching when she was selected to be the first teacher in space. instead for mikayla and thousands of kids across the country, "challenger" became a lesson in loss and grief. >> a shock of our teacher is no longer with us. >> reporter: today at the kennedy space center, a solemn tribute. >> we who remain on the ground and asked them to fly failed them that day as we would fail the crew of "columbia" 17 years later and as we failed the crew of "apollo 1" 19 years before. >> reporter: commander dick scobee's widow, june, has carried on the mission, founding the challenger learning center to inspire the next generation of teachers and explorers.
>> we didn't want the "challenger" to be the end of the chapter in space exploration. we saw it as a transition chapter. >> reporter: now with the space shuttle fleet set to retire this year, the orbiting space station complete and a moon mission off the table, what's next for nasa? where does it go? >> we've been so wrapped up in the shuttle, perhaps, that we haven't done enough forward planning. >> reporter: 25 years after "challenger" nasa's next chapter is yet to be written. tom costello, nbc news, washington. in just a moment here as promised, we'll go back to richard engle in cairo for the very latest on the tense situation there tonight. b/
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and join the myboniva program. to get one month free, plus more tips and recipes, visit boniva.com, or call 1-800-4-boniva. we're back and one more time let's update what certainly looks like a revolution in progress in the streets of egypt. richard engle remains in cairo. richard, good evening once again. >> reporter: good evening, brian. a lot of people are wondering what will happen tomorrow. so far this has not been an anti-american movement on the streets, but people are getting frustrated with the united states. they believe that the u.s. administration wants to give mubarak a pass. that as long as he promises
reforms and not to carry out any major, major violent crackdown, that they will accept him to stay in power. but what's scattered on the streets of cairo right now are these little canisters. these were the tear gas canisters that were fired by all those riot police today. and if you look at them closely, they say clearly in english, "made in the usa." egyptians have been picking them up, looking them over and from an egyptian perspective it does seem like mubarak and the united states are working together, so the u.s. is walking a fine line here. >> all right, richard engle. superb reporting all day on the streets of cairo on this situation. still changing tonight. richard, thanks. a reminder, nbc news will stay with the story, of course, all weekend long. tomorrow morning on "today," back here tomorrow night on nbc "nightly news." of course any time on msnbc, cable, the internet and tonight on your late local news. for us for now, however, that's our broadcast for this friday